City Detail

Background Information

City of Duluth
County: St. Louis
Population: 86265
GreenStep City category: A
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 850
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator
City Staff
218-730-4433
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 2 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 106
1 star actions: 13
2 star actions: 16
3 star actions: 15

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

Pending - Action 1:

Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
2019 Update: Energy and water use data have been entered through mid 2019. Issues with missing meter readings are being addressed with the utility provider to remedy gaps in the data. IT is also in the process of creating a program that will allow for easier data uploads in the future by extracting pertinent information from the energy spreadsheet provided by the utility company and a placing it on the upload template provided by B3. This will facilitate continued updates by the Energy Coordinator.
STATUS – 2008 baseline data and years 2009-2012 energy data has been entered for 38 buildings greater than 5,000 square feet.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
3 star - Action 2:

Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Low cost changes to operating practices were made at city-owned buildings.

The City of Duluth joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Low Carbon IT Campaign by enabling the power management, or sleep mode, on our computers and monitors. This simple step will help reduce the nation's growing demand for electricity, save organizations money and help fight climate change. Power management enables computers and monitors to go into a low-power sleep mode after a period of inactivity. Power management has the potential to save up to $ 50 per computer annually.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
combined energy savings are identified in Best Practice Action 3 attachment.
Descriptive File: view file
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
3 star - Action 3:

Invest in larger energy efficiency projects through performance contracting or other funding or through smaller retro-commissioning/retrofit projects in city-owned/school buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Energy Use was reduced by 1,058,447 kWh and 15,668 Therms during years 2011 to 2013 by implementing energy measures, primarily lighting and high efficiency boilers, in over 50 city-owned buildings and other energy saving measures.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Annual Electric energy use and total cost savings from energy efficiency measures:
2011 - 288,334 kWh saved and $37,238 costs saved
2012 - 438,131 kWh saved and $51,201 costs saved
2013 - 271.862 kWh saved and $23,533 costs saved
Descriptive File: view file
Minnesota Power Conservation Program, Energy Insight, Inc. Comfort Systems
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
2 star - Action 4:

Implement information technology efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads, building energy use and workflow efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
The city has an appliance policy for to personal and city owned appliances requiring they all meet specific energy consumption criteria. Non-compliant personal appliance are required to be removed from the building, and the replacement of non-compliant city owned appliances will be done as the budget allows.
MIS Division has centralized control of all City computers and uses power management controls such as standard sleep settings.
Working jointly with divisions to identify centralized printing options, Duluth was able to reduce the number of printers in the organization by 100. The new centralized devices are all energy star rated.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Toshiba
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 6:

Improve the operations & maintenance of city-owned/school buildings and leased buildings by using a customized online energy efficiency tool, asset management tool, green building framework or green lease.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
Duluth uses Energy Manager by Dude Solutions to track electricity, natural gas, steam, and water use at city buildings. This tool allows us to see long term trends, make year to year comparisons, and identify sites with heavy energy usage that may be ideal for upgrades. EGuages have also been installed at some city buildings to track circuit level energy use and identify potential areas of improvement.
Facilities Maintenance uses an automated tool that schedules all necessary maintenance to ensure equipment is running at peak efficiency. This work order tool ensures that important tasks are not overlooked or postponed and have negative impacts on efficiency.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
2 star - Action 7:

Install for one or more city-owned/school buildings one of the following efficiency measures:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1936
Implementation details:
Hartley Nature Center is heated by a ground source heat pump that was installed in 2003 and has multiple waste heat collection systems. HNC also has a solar wall on the south side of the building and utilizes passive solar heating through east-west building orientation, a concrete slab that absorbs and radiates heat, and roof-overhangs to shade windows during summer months.
Duluth Energy Systems is a steam plant owned by the City that has provided steam to several city buildings as well as downtown businesses for the past 80 years. The steam plant is in the process of switching to a closed loop hot water system that will reduce energy and water use.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

Pending - Action 1:

Create or participate in a marketing/outreach/incentive program to promote/achieve residential energy/water use reduction and energy efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
Comfort Systems (CS), the city run utility provider, has basic energy and water saving tips on their website. CS offers free basic in-home energy assessments in partnership with the Duluth Energy Efficiency Program (DEEP). Rebates of up to $250 are also available for homeowners who get a more in depth energy analysis of their home's energy consumption. Following an analysis residents can apply for fixed rate loans to finance energy improvements in their homes as long as the improvements will pay back in 20 years or less. $200 rebates are available on boiler and furnace improvements.
For low income and high risk homeowners who may not qualify for assistance, DEEP provides free weatherization services through the Giving Comfort @ Home program.
Grants are available to businesses and rental properties to help offset the cost of efficiency upgrades, and rentals with low income tenants can qualify for additional grants through the Rental Energy Upgrade Pilot Program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 4:

Describe energy/water efficiency outcomes and other green building practices at businesses and not-for-profit organizations located within/nearby the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2000
Implementation details:
The University of MN, Duluth campus has decreased water use across campus by 30% in the last 11 years while increasing square footage by 15%. In the residents halls this has been done by replacing roughly 240 high consumption toilets with low flow models, installing sensor faucets with low flow aerators, and installing low flow shower heads. A new irrigation installed on the sports field will contribute to water savings. UMD has been investing in solar power, and between their solar arrays and purchases from community solar gardens received 244.82 MWH in 2018. While only .6% of their total energy consumption, it is a significant increase from 2009 when they received only 6.22 MHW, or .01%, of their energy from solar. An additional 100kW of community solar are going to be added soon.
Lake Superior Community College has reduced their energy consumption by 11% and water by 57% since 2009 while simultaneously increasing their psychical footprint by 10%. Energy reductions have been made by facilities upgrades including light retrofits, the installation of automatic controls, and parking lot lighting upgrades. Stormwater management has also been a priority for LSC and they have installed 3 rain gardens, an underground stormwater retention system, and numerous bioswales over the last 15 years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Conserve/protect drinking/groundwater resources by creating a water-wise landscaping ordinance/guidance, WaterSense purchasing program, or guidance on rainwater harvesting and home water softener use.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
ComfortSystems (CS), the city owned utility, educates residents about strategies they can use to reduce their water use on the CS website. CS suggests residents mulch around trees to slow evaporation and save on irrigation use, provides guidance on how to tell if your yard really needs to be watered or if it can wait, and recommends investing in a rain barrel to water outdoor plants and gardens. CS also recommends residents purchase WaterSense labeled toilets and low flow shower heads to reduce water use inside.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 6:

Provide a financial or other incentive to private parties who add energy/sustainability improvements, meet the SB 2030 energy standard, or renovate using a green building or energy framework.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
ComfortSystems (CS), the city owned utility provider, offers fixed rate loans of up to $30,000 to homeowners who need help financing energy projects that will pay back in 20 years or less. $200 rebates are also available for boiler and furnace upgrades.
Businesses and rental property owners can apply for grants to help offset energy efficiency upgrades, and rental properties with low income residents qualify for additional grants through the Rental Energy Upgrade Pilot Program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

New Green Buildings {BP no.3}

2 star - Action 3:

Adopt a sustainable building policy for private buildings; include the SB 2030 energy standard; adopt language governing new development projects that:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2006
Implementation details:
Duluth UDC 50.29 requires that all developments above a certain size accrue a certain number of points from a listed Sustainability Point System or achieve LEED silver or above
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Adopt environmentally preferable covenant guidelines for new common interest communities addressing issues such as stormwater, greywater, native vegetation, growing food, clothes lines, electric vehicle charging, and renewable energy.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
According to the Unified Development Code 50-19, all urban residential zones allow multifamily dwellings. For food production, community gardens are permitted uses in all urban residential zones, and urban agriculture is allowed with a special use permit. Energy generation in the form of solar, wind, or geothermal are permitted uses in all urban residential zones.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

Pending - Action 1:

Require energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant new or replacement outdoor lighting fixtures on city-owned/private buildings and facilities.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
Duluth's Exterior Lighting Ordinance (UDC 50-31) applies to all city-owned, multi-family, mixed use, commercial, and/or industrial buildings in the city as well as all parking lots. The ordinance requires that:
-Any light emitting more than 900 lumens must be shielded with an IESNA shield with 90% of the light falling below 80 degrees.
-All lighting must be compliant with intensities and uniformity ratios in the IESNA lighting handbook and must meet specific minimum and maximum illumination values as set forth in the Minnesota Energy Code.
-Light pole height, sign illumination, and service stations/convenience stores follow certain guidelines.
-Fixture illuminating monuments or statues shall emit only a narrow beam of light.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 2:

Purchase LEDs for all future street lighting and traffic signals.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2002
Implementation details:
All traffic signals purchased since 2002 and all street lights purchased since the early 2010s have been LED. While there is no official policy the universal expectation is that that is going to continue.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 3:

Replace the city's existing street lighting with Dark Sky-compliant LEDs, modifying any city franchise/utility agreement and adding smart grid attributes.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
Between 2013 and 2018 Duluth replaced all of their standard street lights with LEDs. In 2016 an additional project was done to install LED bulbs in all decorative fixtures in areas such as Canal Park and along the Lake Walk. Replacing all corn cob lights with LEDs began in 2017 and is nearly complete. All lighting purchased is Dark Sky compliant per city policy.
Minnesota Power has been replacing their burnt out sodium light fixtures in the city with LEDs since 2015, and recently announced that they would switch from installing 4000K LEDs to softer 2700K LEDs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
3 star - Action 4:

Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing so as minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Duluth’s Street Light Utility Division utilizes a continuous signal timing optimization program, Synchro traffic simulation software to develop signal timing plans and to preform signal optimization.
City of Duluth has flashing left turn arrow signals installed at:
Rice Lake Road & Arlington,
Rice Lake Road & Sawyer (MN Power's entrance), Trinity & Mall Drive.
All future installations will be Flashing Yellow Arrows

Interconnected traffic signals and coordination with other jurisdictions:
Currently the County has employed a timing consultant for the Mall Area Signals, all three jurisdictions will be involved, City, County and MN/Dot.
We have other coordinated systems although they are not joint with other jurisdictions.
• Grand Ave. from 44th West to 57th West,
• 21st Ave. East from London Road to St. Marie St on Woodland Ave.
• Downtown Central Business District, which includes 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Streets.
• 10th Ave. East from 1st St. through 3rd St.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Use LED/solar-powered lighting for a flashing sign or in a street, parking lot or park project.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
Duluth uses solar power for signs that are placed in areas without readily available power. As the solar units are more expensive they are typically only placed in areas where power would have to be run from a distant location. There is currently one operating on 40th Ave E, and the county has 2 solar units on Rice Lake Road that the city maintains for them. All lights installed on signs are LED, regardless of power source.
All of the lighting along the Lester Park cross country ski trails have been re-lamped with LEDs.
The city only buys LED lamps for all street lights, and completed a retrofit of all city lights in 2018.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 6:

Relamp/improve exterior building lighting for city-owned buildings/facilities with energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant lighting.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
All but 3 parks have had their exterior lights replaced with LED Dark-Sky compliant lighting. All community centers have had this done as well. The city is in the process of relighting the rest of their municipal buildings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
2 star - Action 7:

Replace city-owned parking lot/ramp lighting with Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient, automatic dimming lighting technologies.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
2019 Update: Conversions were completed at all city owned ramps in 2018 as the city finished replacing all street lighting with LEDs.

IN PROGRESS – Two smaller ramps have been converted to Dark-Sky compliant lighting on upper lots. Planning is in progress to replace HID fixtures with dimming LED fixtures at two large ramps. Shields will be installed on selected fixtures to eliminate light pollution from reaching outside the parking ramp.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
3 star - Action 8:

Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2005
Implementation details:
In 2004 and 2005, the majority of Duluth’s green traffic signals were replaced with high efficiency LED lights. As of June 2014, 95% of the City's traffic signals are LED.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

Pending - Action 1:

Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations and encourage adaptive reuse.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1990
Implementation details:
Duluth's Heritage Preservation Commission was created in 1989 to help preserve, protect, and promote areas that have special historical, community or aesthetic value. The commission recommends sites worthy of historic preservation to the City Council, approves or denies construction and demolition permits for historic locations, and works to educate citizens of the city about the historic and architectural heritage of the city.
The city has 2 designated Historic Districts that help preserve the atmosphere and architecture of the Civic Center and the Duluth State Normal School. Additional places can be designated as historic resources through a codified process.
Duluth has been a Certified Local Government since 1990, and the most recently adopted governing principles for the comprehensive plan calls for the reuse of previously developed lands including the adaptive reuse of existing building stock and historic resources.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The 2018 Comprehensive Plan lists the reuse of previously developed lands as the #1 principle that should guide development going forward and there are a number of ways Duluth is working to implement that:
-Developers who utilize historic buildings can apply for an adaptive reuse permit. These permits allow buildings to be used for purposes not normally allowed in their zones.
-All new development must achieve a certain number of points from a sustainability scorecard. Development on brownfields or previously developed non-contaminated locations (such as a historic building) can contribute a significant portion of the required points.
-Businesses can have their parking minimums lowered if they share parking with neighboring businesses or existing parking structures.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Land Use Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans {BP no.6}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2006
Implementation details:
Imagine Duluth is the Comprehensive Plan (CP) adopted in 2018 which recognizes that the reuse of existing infrastructure, encouragement of vertical development, and re-zoning to allow more mixed use neighborhoods is critical for the continued improvement of downtown Duluth. The Energy and Conservation Chapter of the CP re-articulated the City's goal of achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations by 2050. The Transportation Chapter addresses strengths and gaps in the City's pedestrian, bike, and public transit systems, as well as making improvement to multi-modal transportation options a primary goal with the identification of specific routes to focus on. It emphasized that any transportation decisions should be made with an emphasis on improving city and neighborhood vitality, not just vehicle through put.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
1 star - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
2019 Update: The most recent Unified Development Code (UDC), adopted in January 2019, continues to act as a mechanism to implement the City's Comprehensive Plan which was updated in 2018. The Comprehensive Plan is still referenced at the beginning of the UDC and the beginning of individual ordinances as well.

The City adopted the Unified Development Chapter (UDC) of the City's legislative code in 2010 to implement the City of Duluth's 2006 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan is referenced both generally at the beginning of the UDC as the goal for all zoning, land use, and development ordinances, as well as specifically at the start of individual ordinances
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
3 star - Action 3:

Include requirements in comprehensive and/or other plans for intergovernmental coordination addressing regional land use and watershed / wellhead impacts, infrastructure, transportation, economic development and city/regional services.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2006
Implementation details:
The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) and helps Duluth coordinate with local jurisdictions on a range of services including transportation, emergency planning, senior services, and several others through its three program divisions: ARDC Regional Planning, Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council (MIC), and the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging. MIC in particular has facilitated programs involving joint service and investment in infrastructure between Duluth and many of the other communities served by the ARDC - several of these programs appear in their annual reports.
The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) "provides wastewater services... for a 500-square mile service area, including the communities of Duluth, Cloquet, Proctor, and Hermantown and surrounding communities." Much of the infrastructure operated by WLSSD is located in Duluth itself, but serves a much larger area.
Duluth also coordinates with the rest of St. Louis County's police and fire departments, as well as on foreclosures and housing programs and services.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
3 star - Action 4:

Include ecological provisions in the comprehensive plan that explicitly aim to minimize open space fragmentation and/or establish a growth area with expansion criteria.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2006
Implementation details:
Page 131 of Duluth's Comprehensive Land Use Plan describes the design of the conceptual staging map, which separates developable land into three categories based on the order in which the city wishes to develop it. The highest priority is infill of previously developed land; order of development is designed to "retain the integrity of the City's green infrastructure".
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 5:

Adopt climate mitigation and/or energy independence goals and objectives in the comprehensive plan or in a separate policy document, and include transportation recommendations such as becoming an EV-ready city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The Energy & Conservation chapter in Imagine Duluth (the comprehensive plan adopted in 2018) outlines strategies the city can use to encourage community-wide investment in appropriate local renewable energy sources including solar, wind, and biomass. The city re-articulated its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. It also recommends adopting a plan to reduce emissions from the city owned steam plant by 50% over 30 years and mentions the importance of planning for EV infrastructure.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Resilient City Growth {BP no.7}

Pending - Action 1:

Limit barriers to higher density housing by including in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
Multifamily units and townhomes are allowed in all residential and mixed use zones with the exception of Rural Residentials 1 and 2. Efficiency units are allowed in all mixed use neighborhoods with a minimum lot size of 380sqft. All residential and mixed use zones allow at least 10 units per acre, with many allowing far greater.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 2:

Achieve higher density housing through at least two of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
Efficiency units are allowed in all mixed use zones with a minimum lot size 380sqft. Accessory dwelling units are allowed in all Residential zones. Residential-Planned communities can reduce lot frontage by up to 25% and lot area up to 50% when clustering development to preserve open space.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 3:

Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
Areas zoned as Mixed Use Commercial and some buildings in Form Based zones can have 0 setbacks for structures 35 feet tall or less. Mixed Use Waterfront buildings can have 0 set backs as well and certain Form Based districts also require 0 setbacks.
Duluth also has multiple Coworking spaces available including the Wells Fargo Building and 324 W Superior St building in downtown Duluth. These buildings provide a variety of working spaces from shared open areas to private conference rooms with teleconferencing capabilities to serve a wide range of needs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 4:

Provide incentives for infill projects, or for life-cycle housing at or near job or retail centers, or for achieving an average net residential density of seven units per acre.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
Duluth has multiple Mixed Use districts that encourage a combination of residential and commercial land uses. High density housing reduces developer's and owner's costs related to stormwater fees, utility construction, and road extensions. The comprehensive plan encourages development along existing transit nodes and corridors.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

2 star - Action 1:

Organize or participate in a community planning/placemaking/design process for the city/a mixed use district.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Many of the planning and design processes conducted by Duluth's Planning department involve public input, including for some mixed use districts.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 2:

Locate or lease a school, city building or other government facility that has at least two of these attributes:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
The Civic Center, which includes City Hall, the Court House, and the Federal building, sits on the 11 bus route and is 1 block from stops that service many other routes. It is also only 4.5 blocks from the Downtown Transit Center which connects all bus routes in the city. Superior St running in front of the Civic Center is currently being renovated to improve sidewalks and walkability, and other adjacent streets have existing bike lanes that connect Civic Center to the rest of the city. City Hall is connected via Skywalk to neighboring commercial buildings that encourage pedestrian traffic even during the winter. The Civic Center is surrounded by Community Shopping and Office & Downtown Mixed Use zones that supply employment to the Urban Residential zone two blocks away.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer Moses (City staff) | jmoses@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5328
1 star - Action 3:

Modify a planned unit development ordinance to emphasize mixed use development, to limit residential PUDs to areas adjacent to commercial development, and/or to add sustainability features.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
PUDs can be used for mixed use development.
Mixed Use-Planned zones can have a variety of residential and commercial uses. All development is required to encourage walkable, bikeable communities through layout and design. Developers are allowed to apply for variances from code if such changes would facilitate the preservation and protection of natural resources, support a higher level of sustainability than required by code, allow for the creation of bike trails and lanes, or accommodate for linkages to mass transit.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 3:

Modify a planned unit development ordinance to emphasize mixed use development, to limit residential PUDs to areas adjacent to commercial development, and/or to add sustainability features.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
Could you please delete this particular post? I accidentally created a new action rather than edit a previously posted one. I have updated the old action so this is a unnecessary. Thanks!
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
3 star - Action 5:

Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Office, retail, educational, civic, and residential units are all permitted within the same building in Duluth's downtown zoning district.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 6:

Incorporate form-based zoning approaches into the zoning code, in those areas where a diverse mix of uses is desired.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Duluth has 9 Form Based Districts to accommodate the unique characteristics of different communities ranging from historic to residential to downtown commercial. Three of them explicitly allow for Cottage Commercial buildings which help blend the aesthetics of commercial and residential buildings in the surrounding area. Detailed building standards for each form are codified in the UDC.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
2 star - Action 7:

Create incentives for vertical mixed-use development in appropriate locations (downtown, commercial districts near colleges or universities, historic commercial districts).

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
2019 Update: Residential and Mixed Use buildings have greater height allowances. Strictly commercial buildings have much smaller height maximums.

Some zone districts in Duluth have height incentives; in form districts there are certain building types where some uses are only allowed on upper floors.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Efficient Highway- and Auto-Oriented Development {BP no.9}

Pending - Action 1:

Establish design goals for at least one highway/auto-oriented corridor/cluster.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2002
Implementation details:
The Skyline Parkway Corridor Management Plan was created in 2002 and updated in 2015 to help guide the development and maintenance of Duluth's historic Skyline Parkway. The report was created with help from a Citizens' Task Force to get the community's input on the future of the 25 mile scenic highway. A Skyline Parkway Overlay was created in the Unified Development Code that dictates building standards within 200' of the parkway with an emphasis on reducing view obstruction and maintaining the historical characteristics of the route. The majority of the 25 mile drive goes through either Residential zones ranging from rural to urban or designated green spaces. There is 1 public EV charging station located only blocks from the parkway, with 5 additional chargers within 2 miles of the route.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer Moses (City staff) | jmoses@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5328
Pending - Action 2:

Participate in regional economic development planning with representatives from surrounding townships, cities, the county and business interests to:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth works with the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission which brings together representatives from various levels of government as well as businesses and community groups to address regional issues across 8 counties. This includes the Northeast Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership that helps guide regional transportation planning to ensure a cohesive road network and set regional transportation priorities.
The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council allows the the two cities to work together to address their unique transportation needs. The Council created a bike plan to guide bike infrastructure development and encourage safe local bike traffic for the next 25 years, and completes occasional Truck Route Studies to ensure designated truck routes are still facilitating the safe and efficient transportation of goods between the cities.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer Moses (City staff) | jmoses@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5328
Pending - Action 3:

Adopt infrastructure design standards that protect the economic and ecologic functions of the highway corridor through clustering of development, plantings and incorporating access management standards.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The most recent comprehensive plan completely removed the previously used "Auto-Oriented Commercial" zone relying on Mixed Use-Commercial to facilitate clustering of development and reduce sprawl.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 4:

Adopt development policies for large-format developments, zoning for auto-oriented commercial districts at the sub-urban edge and/or in tightly defined and smaller urban development corridors/nodes that have some bike/walk/transit access.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The most recent Comprehensive Plan completely removed the previously used "Auto-Oriented Commercial" land use and reclassified these areas primarily into Neighborhood Mixed Use, Central Business, and Neighborhood Commercial in an attempt to move away from auto-oriented land use and encourage more mixed-use and compact development. The majority of the Mixed Use-Commercial zones -which include traditional retail such as malls and big box stores-are located on the outskirts of the city along the main highway corridors.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Design for Natural Resource Conservation {BP no.10}

1 star - Action 3:

For cities within metropolitan areas, incorporate woodland best management practices addressing protection of wooded areas into zoning or development review.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Individual stands are protected under UDC 50-25.
Subdivision design protects "natural resources… to the degree practicable" under UDC 50-33.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 6:

Conserve natural, cultural, historic resources by adopting or amending city codes and ordinances to support sustainable sites, including roadsides, and environmentally protective land use development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Development projects can get credit for preserving existing healthy trees. They are also required to replace a certain percentage of any trees removed during the development process (UDC 50-25.6).
The Natural Resources Overlay is a zoning overlay designed to help protect water resources in the city from incompatible development. Certain types of projects are prohibited in this zone and any development has to adhere to designated setbacks from rivers, streams, and lakes (UDC 50.18.1).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Transportation Transportation

Living Streets {BP no.11}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a complete streets policy, or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
2019 Update: While an official policy was never passed, considering all users in the design of right of ways is considered "working policy" in the city. City staff are regularly trained as new complete-streets techniques and strategies emerge.

The City of Duluth adopted resolution 10-1028 in 2010, providing for a Complete Streets Policy.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
2 star - Action 3:

Modify a street in compliance with the city's complete streets policy.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
2019 Update: The Superior Street Reconstruction project in 2019-2020 is removing the deteriorating bricks and re-surfacing the road with concrete. The project is also re-introducing trees to downtown Duluth, widening pedestrian areas and creating bump out areas for outdoor seating for local restaurants and coffee shops. Duluth Energy is also taking this opportunity to replace their old steam pipes with infrastructure that will better support their change to a more efficient closed loop hot water system.
While still in design, the 2020 Second St reconstruction is planning on accommodating a larger pedestrian/bike space down one side of the street and add boulevards between the curb and sidewalk area.

Duluth reconstructed Oxford/Livingston/Glenwood streets in the Woodland and Lakeside areas in 2013. We added sidewalks to Glenwood where they were missing, Trees, vegetation and stormwater treatment were also included in the overall project.
In 2014, the City Council passed a resolution to do a road diet on London Road, between 10th and 21st Ave E. to go to a three lane section with bike lanes on each side. The restriping to complete the road diet on that section of London Road will take place in late summer 2014.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
1 star - Action 4:

Identify, prioritize and remedy complete streets gaps and lack of connectivity/safety within your road network by, for example, adding a bike route/lane, truck route, sidewalk or mid-block alley.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
2019 Update: The city budgets $100K per year for sidewalk additions and upgrades across the city. Typically these are focused in high pedestrian areas such as schools.
In 2020 more than 17 miles of street are going to have their intersection ramps upgrades to improve ease of use and accessibility.
Numerous connectivity improvements have been done in the last few years including:
-College Street was reduced in width, and the Campus Connector Trail was built between CSS to UMD
-Anderson Road, between Chambersburg and Haines Road reconstruction- went from a rural (ditch) section to an urban section with sidewalk on one side and bike lanes on both sides.
-Glenwood- reconstruction from 43rd Ave E to 60th Ave E- new sidewalks and bike lane on one side.
-Glenwood, upper section from 43rd Ave E to Snively intersection- restriped this year to allow for wider shoulders and bike areas.
-Congdon Boulevard reclaim, from the Expressway to McQuade Road- widening to install bike lanes on both sides.
-Street and Avenue one way to two way conversion- assist bike community so they don’t have go around the block to ride legally.
-MN Ped Bridge retrofit- more reliable operation of the bridge allows for the pedestrian connection between the DECC and Canal Park.
-Safe Routes to School projects at Congdon Elem, Stowe Elem, and Lester Elem improved walking conditions for students.
-CDBG sidewalk replacement in the Lincoln Park area (W Superior Street)
-Oxford/Livingston/Glenwood reconstruction project replaced sidewalks along the streets.
-10th Ave E reconstruction project replaced sidewalks from Superior Street to 5th Street.

Additional projects are planned for the coming year.

2014: Added sidewalks and trees along Glenwood Street in the upper Lakeside neighborhood.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cindy Voigt (City staff) | cvoigt@Duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5071
3 star - Action 5:

Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In December 2013, the Duluth City Council adopted a Plan for Duluth's Bikeway System, establishment of bicycle lanes, paths and routes, and requesting City Staff to implement such plan.
Duluth's premier bike path, the Duluth Lakewalk provides a walking and bike trail that connects the Duluth Canal Park downtown district to the Gitchee Gammi Park North of the Lester River Bridge on Duluth's eastern City boundary. Duluth is in the process of constructing the Cross-town trail to connect the Lake Walk trail to the Northern Minnesota Munger Trail.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Duluth's Lake Walk has over 5 miles of walking and biking trail.
Descriptive File: view file
MIC - Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council: Healthy Duluth Coalition
For more information contact:
James Gittemeier (Community volunteer) | jgittemeier@ardc.org | 218-529-7556
2 star - Action 6:

Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including lane conversions (road diets), roundabouts, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
2019 Update: The Cross City Trail Phase 1 involved a conversion of W Superior Street from 4 lanes to 3 lanes to fit the bike trail in on the south side of the street. Phase 4 extended the trail from 63rd Ave W to the zoo on the old DWP line.

The City of Duluth implemented traffic calming measures at the reconstructed intersection at Jefferson Street and 17th Ave East.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

3 star - Action 1:

Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The League of American Bicyclists has designated Duluth as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Brongze level, because Duluth exhibits a sustained commitment to cycling.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Shawna MullenEardley (Community volunteer) | smulleneardley@duluthymca.org | 218-722-4745
2 star - Action 2:

Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth is a participating member of a regional SRTS program. In 2006, the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council released the Duluth SRTS Plan. City staff, council member and community citizens participated on the plan steering committee. Five schools were studied for the plan. There are seven elementary and two middle schools in Duluth.
The plan provided recommendations for evaluation of interventions, encouragement, education, engineering, and enforcements.
Engineering – Creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establish safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.
Duluth’s plan recommended traffic calming infrastructure, new sidewalks, and traffic separation measures.
2. Education – Teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills, and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.
3. Enforcement – Partnering with local law enforcement to ensure traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (this includes enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings , and proper walking and bicycling behaviors), and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.
4. Encouragement – Using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling.
5. Evaluation – Monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data.
During 2013 and 2014, the City participated in active living campaigns and events that promote biking, walking and public transit. Events included the Mayor's annual bike to work day, public presentations on existing and planned bike routes, demonstrations on how to load a bike on the Duluth Transit Authority buses, and bike safety.
In 2013, activities were held during an entire week in May and in 2013, actvities were held during the entire month of May.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Duluth Healthy Living Coalition; MIC: St. Louis County Health Services: Duluth Area Family YMCA, Arrowhead Regional Development Commission
For more information contact:
Shawna MullenEardley (Community volunteer) | smulleneardley@duluthymca.org | 218-722-4745
Pending - Action 3:

Prominently identify mobility options: transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; ridesharing/cab services; rental cars; bikes; airports.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth website currently provides direct links to the Duluth Airport and the Duluth Transit Authority which provides information about bus routes and fares. A link is also provided for Visit Duluth which maintains a more complete transit list including cabs, intercity bus services, and para-transit while emphasizing the walkability of downtown and Canal Park.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Implement workplace multi-modal transportation best management practices - including telework/flexwork - in city government, businesses or at a local health care provider.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
In 2019 Duluth purchased 4 E-Bikes for employees at City Hall and the Property and Facilities Management building to utilize for transportation to/from meetings, recreation, or errands. From May-October the bikes collectively rode 660 miles and saved 30 gallons of gas.
While the City doesn't have an official telework/flexwork policy the union contract allows employees to request adjusted schedules if necessary. These adjusted schedules are developed with and approved by the employee's supervisor to ensure that they don't interfere with the completion of the employee's job duties.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 6:

Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) is gradually shifting from basing transit decisions solely on distribution (eg adding lines to new areas that only run once per hour/don’t run on weekends) to focusing on the usability of service by working on increasing service frequency on currently existing lines. 96% of Duluth addresses lie within 1/2 mile of one of Duluth's 1640 transit stops, and 80% within 1/4 mile. 29% of addresses are within 1/4 mile of high frequency route and 45% are within 1/2 mile of high freq route. DTA provides a para-transit service for residents with disabilities that serves 100% of Duluth's geography.
Duluth city council passed an ordinance in April creating rules for electric scooters in advance of the new scooter sharing service Leaf Rides starting in Duluth. The UMD student created company had a great first summer, and larger national chains are considering expanding to Duluth.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Efficient City Fleets {BP no.13}

Pending - Action 2:

Right-size/down-size the city fleet with the most fuel-efficient vehicles that are of an optimal size and capacity for their intended functions.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
Duluth has begun this process, since 2016 5 hybrid vehicles have been purchased for parking enforcement replacing all of their old vehicles.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 3:

Phase-in operational changes, equipment changes including electric vehicles, and no-idling practices for city or local transit fleets.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2009
Implementation details:
Duluth has had a No Idling policy for all city employees since 2009.
Duluth also has 5 hybrid vehicles for use by parking enforcement, 3 2016 RAV4 and 2 2018 RAV4s.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Allister Quade (City Staff) | aquade@duluthmn.gov | 2187304451
Pending - Action 4:

Phase in bike, e-bike, foot or horseback modes for police, inspectors and other city staff.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
In the spring of 2019 City Hall and Property & Facilities Maintenance got 2 e-bikes each which were available to city staff for meetings, recreation, and errands from May through October. Together the 4 bikes rode 660 miles and saved 30 gallons of gas, keeping 582 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere. The city is in the process of analyzing usage to determine if more bikes are needed.
The Police Department regularly uses bike patrols to supplement or replace squad cars in Canal Park and the Downtown area during the summer. In 2019 officers rode 317 shifts and biked a total of 2760 miles saving 124 gallons of gas. This also kept 2,430 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere while simultaneously helping to reduce air pollution in some of the most pedestrian heavy areas of the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Miles biked, gallons of gas saved, CO2 kept from the atmosphere.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Demand-Side Travel Planning {BP no.14}

Pending - Action 1:

Reduce or eliminate parking minimums: add parking maximums; develop district parking.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Businesses located downtown and in Canal Park are not required to provide any off street parking. Businesses that are required by code to provide off street parking can have that number reduced if they are located close to transit hubs or can show that parking on nearby properties can handle additional traffic without issue.
Buildings are not allowed to build more than 150% of calculated parking minimums in an effort to cut down on excessive parking areas.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 2:

For cities with regular transit service, require or provide incentives for the siting of retail services at transit/density nodes.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Businesses located near transit hubs can reduce the number of parking spaces they are required to provide (UDC 50-24.3) and the City's Future Land Use maps promote higher density uses along major transit lines. Additionally, the Duluth Transit Authority encourages developers to locate near high frequency lines to provide the most useful transit to customers.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth purchases EnergyStar certified equipment and appliances and 30% post-consumer content recycled paper.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
1 star - Action 4:

Require purchase of U.S. EPA WaterSense-certified products.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
2019 Update: Comfort Systems, the municipally owned water utility, encourages residents to purchase Watersense appliances to reduce residential energy use.

Facilities Management Division requires the purchse of U.S. EPA WaterSense certified products or their equivalent for commmercial use.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Set minimum standards for the percentage of recycled-content material in asphalt and roadbed aggregate or other construction materials, and for compost and warm mix asphalt use.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Duluth uses the MNDOT standards for recycled materials. On road reconstruction projects it is standard for the city to grind up the existing bituminous material and blend it into the new gravel base to provide a more stable base for the new road and saves the time, energy, and money required to haul away the old material and bring in new road base.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 7:

Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The Duluth City Council utilizes online agenda packets only. The city is currently working with the remaining City boards and commissions that print paper copies on transitioning to paperless packets as well.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Community Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

1 star - Action 1:

Certify as a Tree City USA.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
Duluth received a Growth Award in 2013 and has been a Tree City for 29 years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Erik Birkeland (City staff) | ebirkeland@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4435
3 star - Action 5:

Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Section 50-25 of Duluth's Unified Development Code details City standards for landscaping and tree preservation during all development - this includes the protection of existing vegetation during construction, "credited" trees when large trees are preserved during construction, percentage tree cover requirements, and a percentage of the sum of removed DBH to be replaced by the sum of planted DBH (rather than removal/replacement standards on a per tree basis).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Erik Birkeland (City staff) | ebirkeland@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4435
3 star - Action 6:

Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
City of Duluth has four certified arborists. The City Parks Department has written a community invasive species guide and plan that includes the emerald ash borer.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Erik Birkeland (City staff) | ebirkeland@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4435

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

1 star - Action 2:

Complete the GreenStep Municipal Stormwater Management Assessment.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
12/08/16- Registered Duluth for the Blue Star award program, in the process of completing the self-assessment
12/20/16- Assessment mostly completed, but we are only at 54% (need to get 60%). We're continuing to work on it.

Login: estrom@duluthmn.gov
Password: 123456
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Chris Kleist (City staff) | ckleist@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4063
Pending - Action 3:

Adopt by ordinance one or more of the following stormwater infiltration/management strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Reconstructed streets are allowed to be a minimum of 24' in width.
Any development that creates or redeveloped more than 3,000 sqft of impervious surface are required to meet runoff standards. Duluth divides itself into Zone A (Above Bluff Line) and Zone B (Below Bluff Line) in recognition of the role that slope plays in stormwater management. All development in Zone B and redevelopment in Zone A are required to match pre-development or pre-redevelopment peak flow rates for all storms. New development in Zone A are required to reduce peak flow rates for 10 and 100 year events to 75% of predevelopement levels, and reduce peak flow rate for 2 year events to 90% of predevelopment levels (UDC 50-18.1).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
3 star - Action 4:

Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize stormwater infiltration, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Duluth's stormwater utility uses variable fees to incentivize enhanced stormwater management to minimize the volume of runoff and pollutants that reach Lake Superior, and has a program to educate property owners. 100% of the fees are used for the stormwater program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Chris Kleist (City staff) | ckleist@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4063
2 star - Action 5:

Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Under the Duluth UDC section 50-41, the definition for "Erosion and sedimentation practice specifications, or practice" makes explicit reference to the MPCA Protecting Water Quality in Urban Areas handbook, which serves as a guideline for design standards for stormwater management. It includes guidelines for many different types of rain gardens and other infiltration methods, as well as grid pavers and green walls, among others. Stormwater management that follows some set of best management practices (the MPCA handbook is highly recommended but not required) is necessary in order to obtain a building permit.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Todd Carlson (City staff) | tcarlson@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-4051
Pending - Action 6:

Reduce de-icing and dust suppressant salt use to prevent permanent surfacewater and groundwater pollution.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth faces many unique challenges when it comes to wintertime salt use. Frequent flushing of the surface water systems by snowmelt and rain events prevents chloride from building up to levels that impact aquatic flora and fauna, and concentrations in Lake Superior remain low regardless of how much is flushed simply because of the sheer volume of water the lake contains. This makes it hard to convince people that chloride use is a problem. However, test wells behind the mall near Miller Creek showed levels at 500mg/l providing a rare glimpse into just how much salt is being washed into the waterways.
Despite the challenges, Duluth is working to reduce chloride use. Pre-wet granular is used at all times to increase the effectiveness of the salt and reduce waste from bounce and scatter. Various combinations of salt and sand are used depending on temperature (current and predicted) and precipitation (type and volume). When it is too cold for salt to function plain sand is used. Plow truck guidelines require that salt be dispensed at 25mph or less to reduce bounce and scatter. The city does have one experimental liquid de-icing tank, however it requires a plow to be driven in front and is not frequently used.
Duluth's hills also present a challenge. 16% of roads have a grade of 6% or steeper, and safety concerns frequently lead to them being over salted. Fortunately the hill is South facing allowing the suns heat to activate salt at colder air temperatures. Emergency services from the growing Medical District rely on many of the steepest roads for transportation so keeping them clear is a high priority. Little research has been done on snow and ice control on such steep hills so there is little solid evidence to guide control plans. Consequently, most chloride reduction efforts are focused on the remaining 84% of roads that are not as steep.
Representatives attend the Annual Road Salt Symposium to learn about new technologies and techniques that may help reduce or more effectively apply material to the road surface.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Geoff Vukelich (City Staff) | gvukelich@duluthmn.gov | 2187304460

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

Pending - Action 1:

Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The 2010 Duluth Parks Master Plan recognized trail connectivity as one of residents' top concerns as the city's trails are the most popular recreation activity/facility. Since then, 5 mini master plans have been drafted for larger trail projects and most parks plans address connectivity as well. The most extensive and ambitious trail plan is the Duluth Traverse Trail.
For more than 10 years the city of Duluth has been working on completing the Duluth City Traverse Trail System which will consist of the main Spine running the length of the city with spurs connecting to neighborhoods throughout. Once the more than 104 miles of multi-use trails are complete every resident in Duluth will be within 3 miles of a trail access, with many living much closer. The system was 82% complete as of the most recent min-master plan, adopted in 2017, and progress continues to be made. Most recently, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bagley Nature Center is now connected to the Spine helping to link college students to this recreation resource. Chester Park, Chambers Grove Park, and Lincoln Park have also been connected to the Spine in the past two years. The Chester Park access was specifically designed to target an underserved community that is lacking other trails.
Signage and wayfinding were also identified as issues. The city has worked to improve signage for parks and trails to help residents and visitors utilize the numerous parks and trails available to them.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matthew Andrews (City Staff) | mandrews@duluthmn.gov | 2187304308
Pending - Action 3:

Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth has 11,600 acres of parkland spread throughout 105 parks, more than 100 miles of trails, and numerous recreation facilities. This provides an average of nearly 135 acres of park per 1,000 residents. Between parks and other resource areas more than 20% of the city's total 58,419 acres is protected natural lands.
Once the Duluth Traverse trail system is completed all residents will live within 3 miles of a trail.
GIS analysis revealed 93% of Duluth addresses lie within 1/2 mile of some type of green space. 73% of addresses lie within 1/2 mile of a green space designated as recreational. While this differs from the 69% reported by Park Serve, a close examination of their map revealed several missing parks that could account for that difference.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matthew Andrews (City Staff) | mandrews@duluthmn.gov | 2187304308
Pending - Action 5:

Create park/city land management standards/practices that maximize at least one of the following:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
Duluth Parks Department recently enacted a low mow/no mow policy for all parks and is working to identify areas which can be left unmowed and turned into habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. 4-5 acres have already been converted from turf to no-mow or native species pollinator gardens.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matthew Andrews (City Staff) | mandrews@duluthmn.gov | 2187304308
Pending - Action 8:

Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration, invasive species management and stewardship projects.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Duluth Invaders is a service initiative organized by the City of Duluth to mobilize citizen volunteers to assist in controlling and removing terrestrial invasive plants, as well as restore the lands damaged by them within the City of Duluth. The 40-50 regular volunteers are each is assigned an area in a local parks to monitor and work to remove common invasive species such as buckthorn, common tansy, and garlic mustard. The Invaders are going to be incorporated into the next parks management plan to help guide and focus efforts. While most of their time is currently focused on the removal of invasives they are in the process of addressing the restoration side of their mission. They have begun working with Cover It Up from UofM extension office to learn about techniques to re-establish native species once invasives have been removed. The program also offers internships each year to provide students with more in depth experience.
ReLEAF is another city run group designed to connect residents with Duluth's community forest. When it was relaunched in 2019 50 volunteers participated in pruning and planting and 80 homes participated in watering. They hope to continue planting 300-500 trees per year.
Clean and Green is a city program that allows community volunteer groups to help clean up litter, weed public gardens, and mulch park trees in a coordinated manner. Groups can reach out to the city and let them know what type of project they would like to do and where they would like to do it. Through this the city utilizes 1-2,000 one time volunteers per year.
The city also has an online calendar to help people find when restoration/planting/clean up events are being held around the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cheryl Skafte (City Staff) | cskafte@duluthmn.gov | 2187304334

Surface Water {BP no.19}

Pending - Action 2:

Conduct or support multi-party community conversations, assessments, plans around improving local water quality and quantity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Each year the stormwater utility hosts a public meeting to allow the public to review their MS4 permit and the efforts undertaken to get messaging out. This is a partnered meeting with St Louis County, MnDOT, City of Hermantown, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Lake Superior College. There are also tables staffed at different events to talk about stormwater and the fact that stormwater is not treated prior to flowing into the St Louis River and Lake Superior
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 4:

Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas; reduce flooding and costs through The National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Within the Unified Development Code, the Natural Resources Overlay restricts uses along all lake and river shorelines to protect fragile ecosystems and reduce damage from flooding and erosion. Restrictions apply to lands within 1,000 feet of Lake Superior or within 300 feet of rivers and streams and special permits are required before construction, grading, or removal of natural vegetation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 5:

Adopt goals to revegetate shoreland and create a local program or outreach effort to help property owners with revegetation.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
While vegetation is a great way to stabilize soils, on the exposed shore of Lake Superior the wave action created by larger wind events makes keeping wave action from eroding soils difficult at best. simple vegetation is often not enough to preserve shoreline in this harsh environment, and as storms get worse this problem will only intensify. Consequently, the engineering office is looking at hard armoring or concrete retaining walls with sloped back soils in areas that are particularly damaged, such as in eroding sections along Condgon Blvd. In the Brighton Beach area they are looking at options on moving the road away from the shore and creating additional trails to access the lake shore, as well as adding larger stones along the shore to help break some of the force of the waves. The unique challenges presented by the lake are forcing city staff and landowners to look for innovative new ways to protect the shoreline.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Todd Carlson (City staff) | tcarlson@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-4051
Pending - Action 6:

Implement an existing TMDL implementation plan.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Miller creek has a TMDL for temperature. As developments are done in the watershed the stormwater engineer works to insure there are BMPs in place to help reduce temperature.
There are 11 draft TMDLs the MPCA is working on and should be finalized in the near future, 7 for Bacteria Impairments and 4 for Total Suspended Solids (TSS). Also, the city is part of a team that has been working with the MPAC to insure there is a workable solution to the impairments and finalize the TMDLs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Todd Carlson (City staff) | tcarlson@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-4051

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

Pending - Action 1:

Compare the energy use and financial performance of your facilities with other peer plants using standardized, free tools.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The Duluth Water Treatment plant has electricity and natural gas data entered from 2016 to the present.
Per the state auditor's tool, the city's Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds have had positive net income for the last 5 years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Todd Carlson (City staff) | tcarlson@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-4051
3 star - Action 3:

Establish an on-going budget and program for decreasing inflow and infiltration into sewer lines and losses in drinking water systems.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
As a result of serious inflow and infiltration issues and subsequent overflows in the early 2000s, the City of Duluth and WLSSD cosigned a decree in 2009 to "cease all wet-weather related sanitary sewer overflow... and resolve 18 separate overflow points" within the following 7 years. The decree was terminated after successful completion a year and a half ahead of time; the city has not experienced an overflow event since 2012, and regular maintenance is conducted to ensure the tightness of Duluth's sewer lines.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Todd Carlson (City staff) | tcarlson@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-4051

Sustainable Consumption and Waste {BP no.22}

Pending - Action 2:

Address concerns over consumer products and packaging through encouragement/implementation of one or more of:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The Duluth City Council is considering an ordinance that would add a 5 cent fee to plastic bags, excluding SNAP or WIC recipients.
Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) provides a detailed disposal guide for most household items on their website. They also have basic How-To guides for recycling household organic waste, and for people who don't want to compost themselves there are 7 drop off points for organic waste throughout the city of Duluth.
Whole Foods Coop in eastern Duluth and the Miller Trunk Highway Target as well as other businesses recycle plastic bags. WLSSD accepts printer ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries, lithium ion batteries, and many other materials at their Household Hazardous Waste Facility, in addition to recycling bins at certain retailers.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 3:

Improve profitability, legal compliance and conserve resources through adoption of ordinance language, licensing and resource management contracts.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Chapter 24 17.1(b) of the City Legislative Code requires separation of recyclables from trash. WLSSD has a very detailed disposal guide on their website that covers most household waste. Owners of multiunit dwellings are required to provide removal of solid wast and recyclables (24-17 (a))).
All solid waste haulers must be licensed by the city to operate (24-9).
The City of Duluth has a contract with WM that provides for recycling at public parks as well as city buildings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 6:

Improve recycling services and expand to multi-unit housing and commercial businesses.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Waste Management provides recycling for multi-unit dwellings, and owners of multiunit dwellings are required to provide removal of solid wast and recyclables (Legislative Code 24-17 (a)).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 8:

Adopt a construction and demolition ordinance governing demolition permits that requires a level of recycling and reuse for building materials and soil/land-clearing debris.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
There are no recycling requirements, but projects can get points on the sustainability scorecard if construction materials come from recycled products or from things made or recovered withing 500 miles of the site.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618

Local Air Quality {BP no.23}

2 star - Action 5:

Install, assist with and promote publicly available EV charging stations or public fueling stations for alternative fuel vehicles. 

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
2019 Update: Canal Park now has 7 level 2 chargers and 1 DC fast charger that are connected to a 45kW PV solar array. 8 stations have been added at the Duluth Transportation Center Public Parking structure which are not connected to PV.

There has been a ChargePoint charging station, installed, owned, and operated by the City, at the Duluth Library/Depot Parking Structure (at the west end of the downtown area) since mid-2013; it is capable of charging at both 120- and 240-volt levels.
The City also has plans to install five more charging stations for public use in 2017.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

2 star - Action 1:

Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The newly created Energy Plan Commission will help draft policy and monitor progress towards the city's goal of reducing their GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. The focus will primarily be on ways to improve city operations with the goal of bringing uniformity across all city departments when it comes to energy use reductions and sustainable project design and implementation. Commission members range from college students to retirees and have backgrounds in engineering, education, law, communications, and sustainability.
The Tree Commission was created in 1995 to help the city manage its urban forest and make recommendations to the city. It was renamed the Natural Resources Commission in 2018 and its scope was broadened to include all the city's natural resources, not just the trees. The commission advises the city on the protection and enhancement of Duluth's natural areas and works to promote the ecological health of the city and the regional ecosystems.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 2:

Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The city budget contains a section that identifies at least 2 key programs that each department is working on. For each program, a goal is defined, objectives are set, and strategies are listed to help achieve those goals. A measurable outcome is determined an tracked. Previous goals are listed along with actual performance, and the goals for the next 1 to 2 years are set. These documents are available online going back to 2011.
Additionally, several departments in the City do their own annual reporting.
- Duluth's Community Planning department releases the Housing Indicators Report and CAPER on its webpage
- Duluth Public Library reports various usage statistics to State Library Services
- Parks and Recreation posts an annual report of completed projects, budgeting, and plans for the near future to their webpage
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 3:

Measure and report progress on sustainability indicators including energy use/greenhouse gas emissions, social vitality/social inclusion outcome measures.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
In 2017 the City of Duluth adopted a goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80% by 2050 from a 2008 baseline. Progress towards this goal is reported annually. The city is in the process of hiring a Sustainability Officer that will help guide these efforts. The newly created Energy Plan Commission will help draft policy and hold the city accountable as the deadline approaches. Progress is mainly being measured in energy use reductions and the purchase of energy from renewable sources.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
2 star - Action 5:

Conduct or support a community education, visioning and planning initiative using a sustainability framework such as:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth is a supporting organization for Sustainable Twin Ports (STP), a non-profit, 501(c3)organization that provides science based training in the Natural Step process to achieve sustainablity. Two City employee teams have participated in the six-month or longer training conducted by STP, along with thirty other Twin Ports organizations.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 6:

Engage community youth and college students by creating opportunities to participate in city government.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The newly created Energy Plan Commission has two college students as sitting members. The commission will help create policies to guide the city towards its goal of an 80% GHG reduction by 2050.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

Pending - Action 1:

Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
While Duluth doesn't directly offer incentives for green development, the City routinely acts as a grant applicant on behalf of such projects. Additionally, sustainability is weighted in various competitive permitting processes. In the upcoming Rebuild Duluth Housing Program applications will be scored based on 5 categories including Energy Efficiency and Landscaping and Storm-water Retention.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
1 star - Action 3:

Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth promotes the St. Louis River Corridor which is the world’s largest freshwater estuary. Efforts include enhancing trails connectivity, walkability. The Duluth Mayor has successfully sought reinactment of the 1/2% tourism tax to fund future development and enhancements to the the St. Louis River corridor. Businesses in the western district have rallied around the initiative to make the west area a destination for recreational activiities and commerce.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
3 star - Action 5:

Lower the environmental and health risk footprint of a brownfield remediation/redevelopment project beyond regulatory requirements; report brightfield projects.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City has lowered the environmental footprint of brownfields at the former U.S. Steel Plant, Atlas Cement Plant and other brownfield sites. Two new, sustainable businesses have established businesses at brownfield sites in Duluth:
Situated on a former industrial brownfield site which the company restored to meet EPA standards, Loll Designs of Duluth is one of the most innovative new companies in Minnesota. Founded in 2005, the company makes stylish outdoor furniture from recycled materials and has received glowing write-ups in publications ranging from Architectural Record to Dwell magazine. One of the company’s core values, and undoubtedly one of the primary factors behind its success, has been an unwavering commitment to sustainability. The company’s directors are determined to integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of operations.
The corporate headquarters, designed by David Salmela, is an inspiring base of operations for an environmentally-minded company. The building is situated on a former industrial brownfield site which the company restored to meet EPA standards. The office features exposed structural elements, a passive-solar design, and a high-efficiency thermal envelope of structural insulated panels. From the company’s initial decision to manufacture products locally from recycled materials, to its distinctive and modern product line, Loll Designs is catching the attention of designers and environmentally-conscious consumers.
When asked,"When did you first decide to integrate sustainable practices into your business?"
Greg Benson, CEO and founding partner said, “With me, the sustainability thing started in high school back in ‘79 or ‘80. I had an environmental studies teacher, Tom Hayden, who had a huge influence on me. Later on, at UMD, I studied environmental science and literature. For me, these ideas were really there from the beginning. When we first started out, we were building skate ramps and durability was a huge issue. I would think about the lifecycle of what we were building and that’s what drove me to look for other materials – materials that were more durable, that had a longer life, and were made from recycled materials. The other aspect of this is that these concepts just make good economic sense – streamlining the manufacturing process and minimizing waste just makes sense… In the book Cradle to Cradle, Braungart and McDonough argue that making a disposable product out of non-renewable, non-recyclable, non-biodegradable materials is just bad business. If you’re going to make a product out of non-renewable or non-recyclable materials, build it to last.”

Duluth Hertiage Sports Center
Duluth, Minnesota
Brownfield redevelopment in Lincoln Park Neighborhood of Duluth
2008 Economic Development Association of Minnesota Award “Reviving the Lincoln Park Neighborhood”
Located on a redeveloped industrial brownfield site, formerly Clyde Iron Works, the Duluth Heritage Sports Center is the center of a multi-million dollar Clyde Park development. Home to Duluth Amateur Hockey Association and Duluth Schools Hockey, the center serves as a practice facility for other school sports programs and for the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation programming for ice activities. It is also home to the Boys and Girls Club outreach center.
The facility is designed and constructed around an existing industrial building donated by the property owner, which is now the centerpiece of the facility called Heritage Hall. This created the opportunity for the design to be influenced by the historic industrial nature of the site. The design includes unique aesthetic amenities such as an original 20-ton bridge crane that remains in place about the entry lobby, restored original brick walls and steel structure incorporated into the design of the lobby, arena and pavilion.

Two new buildings will jut from Clyde's old assembly building, for public hockey, indoor soccer and softball. The Duluth Heritage Sports Center will replace a public rink lost to fire two years ago.
It will be owned and operated by a non-profit organization. Promoters say it's about more than hockey - it's about one of Duluth's needier neighborhoods.
"Taking a look at a 50 year old brownfield site that's a blight on the community, and turning a major portion of lower Lincoln Park into a place and a destination point which will draw people, families and kids, and give a boost to our tourism industry," says Dick Loraas, President of the Duluth Heritage Sports Center Corporation.
"This has a lot of very positive impacts for non-hockey Duluth," Loraas says.
This project, he says, has huge potential - not unlike the way Grandmas restaurant spurred what's today's popular Canal Park district on Duluth's waterfront.
"You can build an indoor ice plant just about anywhere," Loraas says. "We're doing something that I think has far greater long term positive impact on the community than just putting up a steel building and throwing a piece of ice in it."
Private donations will pay most of the $16 million price tag for the sports center, although the Duluth school district, the city, and the state have also committed money. Alessandro Giuliani's retail development is privately financed, beyond some tax breaks.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

Pending - Action 1:

Adopt wind energy and/or biomass ordinances that allow, enable, or encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Wind power generation is allowed as an accessory use in all zoning districts in Duluth.
Biomass and wind power generation as a primary use are permitted in Industrial-General zones and by special permit in Industrial-Waterfront zones. They are also allowed either as permitted use or by special permit in 3(wind) or 5(biomass) residential zones as well.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Pending - Action 2:

Promote resident/business purchases and/or generation of clean energy by:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Screening and fences may violate code if compliance would hinder the functioning of solar, wind, or geothermal energy generation (UDC 50-26.1). Wind and solar generation may also exceed building height limits (UDC 50-21.3).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
3 star - Action 3:

Promote financing and incentive programs such as PACE for clean energy:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
In September 2014, the City of Duluth entered into a joint powers agreement with the Saint Paul Port Authority to "implement and administer their property assisted clean energy ("PACE") of Minnesota program" in Duluth.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
No projects have closed so far; there is one in the works with Miller Hill Mall that is likely to go forward in the first quarter of 2017.
Descriptive File:
St. Paul Port Authority
For more information contact:
Nathan LaCoursiere (City staff) | nlacoursiere@duluthmn.org | 2187305490
1 star - Action 5:

Install a public sector/municipally-owned renewable energy technology, such as solar electric (PV), wind, biomass, solar hot water/air, or micro-hydro.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
2019 Update: Hartley Nature Center has a geothermal heat pump, in addition to 13.1kW solar capacity. The city has also installed a 45kW solar array in Canal Park the provides shade to parked cars as well as powering the EV charges located below it. The city owned steam plant recently transitioned to Natural Gas and is in the process of upgrading their equipment to change from forced steam to a closed loop water system.

4.33 kW of photovoltaics were installed at the Lester Park Chalet, offsetting electrical consumption of the nearby cross-country ski trail lighting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 7:

Become a solar-ready community,  including adopting ordinance/zoning language and an expedited permit process for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
Duluth has been a SolSmart Gold city since September, 2017. There is also a checklist to help guide residents through the solar permitting process on the city website, and permit requests can be submitted online for ease of access. Solar is allowed by-right and as an accessory use in all major zones.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433

Local Food {BP no.27}

2 star - Action 1:

Incorporate working landscapes - agriculture and forestry - into the city by adopting an ordinance for one or more of the following:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Duluth's Unified Development Code (UDC) section 50-19.8 permits agriculture of some sort in several zone districts, including all residential zone districts.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer Moses (City staff) | jmoses@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5328
2 star - Action 2:

Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily residential developments.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Duluth's Unified Development Code (UDC) section 50-19.8 permits agriculture of some sort in several zone districts, including all residential zone districts; it is zoned for and allowed by right.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer Moses (City staff) | jmoses@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5328
2 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
- The following schools in Duluth have school forests: North Shore Community School, Lakewood Elementary, Lester Park Elementary, Homecroft Elementary, Duluth East High School, and Bay View Elementary.
- The Duluth Farmers' Market has existed since 1911. The West Duluth Farmers' Market and the Lincoln Park Farmers' Market serve different parts of Duluth.
- The Duluth Community Garden program has several plots located on city-owned property.
- The Duluth Parks and Recreation department's Edible Duluth program "aims to promote, develop and create sustainable and maintained edible landscapes on public property". There are currently 147 trees at 16 different locations across the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer Moses (City staff) | jmoses@duluthmn.gov | 218-730-5328

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

Pending - Action 1:

Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2000
Implementation details:
Duluth participates in St Louis County's Hazard Mitigation planning. The plan (reviewed every 5 years) is currently going through the review and update process. The plan is FEMA and Homeland Security approved and includes federal funding for proposed mitigation projects. Projects currently being drafted include rerouting Minnesota Ave on Park Point further inland and reinforcing the shoreline by the water treatment plant. Duluth is also working with the DNR on their hazard mitigation strategies. The DNR focuses on shoreline issues and ecological stability.
Duluth has its own Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that takes an "all hazards approach": rather than be divided up by potential emergency, general responses are detailed that can be tailored to almost any emergency situation including those climate related. The plan includes contact lists and delegation of responsibilities associated with emergency response. There is also an initial checklist to assist in determining whether the situation warrants the activation of the Emergency Operations Center. While the plan is continuously updated in minor ways, it is also part of the MN Walk system where various sections are scrutinized and updated every year. The local school district and MN Power have their own EOPs that are reviewed with the City yearly. St Louis County, the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, the Duluth Transit Authority, and the 148th Fighter Wing also have their own EOPs that are reviewed with the City to insure that regional responses can be coordinated. The City also runs a yearly exercise with UMD to review various aspects of the university's emergency plan.
The City's EOP includes a list of all facilities that have large quantities of chemicals that may become public hazards in the event of an emergency. Mass sheltering options are listed (all are ADA compliant) as are the locations of all backup generators in the city along with their tank size, fuel type, and maximum run times.
The City has multiple ways of communicating information with the public in times of crisis. Traditional tornado sirens are maintained within the city. The City can also utilize the FEMA run IPAWS to automatically communicate with any cell phones in the area. Landlines can opt into this network. Most recently this was utilized during the Husky Refinery fire in 2018 and during a storm in 2019 when Park Point residents were told to shelter in place. Everbridge is a county run alerts system that is opt in for residents of the area. And of course the traditional print and television media as well as social accounts are used to spread information as quickly and accurately as possible. To facilitate communication between city, county, and state agencies the City uses WebEOC which allows information to be shared between different groups without being shared with the general public.
The City has agreements with private ambulance companies to assist in the evacuation of local hospitals if such actions are needed.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 2:

Integrate climate resilience into city or tribal planning, policy, operations, and budgeting processes.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
In 2018 Duluth published their Population Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Adaptation Framework which identified the specific impacts Duluth can expect to see in the next 100 years. It also identified particular populations in Duluth that will be especially vulnerable to these changes, as well as suggestions for possible actions that could help the city adapt to future changes.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Pending - Action 5:

Protect public buildings and natural/constructed infrastructure to reduce physical damage and sustain their function during extreme weather events.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
Duluth has a comprehensive map of the potable water system, storm water system, sanitary sewer system, city streets and alleys, the municipal steam system, and natural gas lines. The recently completed tree inventory is going to be mapped digitally this winter.
The Duluth Lake Walk was severely damaged by storms in 2017 and 2018. During the reconstruction process, steps have been taken to ensure that future storms are not able to damage the trail as easily. The boardwalk and paved trail were rebuilt behind a new concrete barrier that was sunk 12 feet into the ground. The design of the boardwalk to make it more securely anchored to the ground. More sturdy fences are being installed where the trail runs beside the train tracks, and more durable lighting fixtures are being placed along the path (all new fixtures will be LED). The rocks that had previously protected the shoreline were mostly washed away in some areas, so larger rocks that will interlock are being placed along the shore in an effort to prevent the same kind of washout. For areas of the shore where erosion was a severe problem, solutions beyond infill and vegetation are being explored.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
1 star - Action 8:

Improve local energy resilience by minimizing fuel poverty, installing distributed renewable energy systems, and developing microgrids that can improve energy system resiliency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
The Duluth Flood Recovery Program, a partnership between Ecolibrium3, the City of Duluth, and local utilities, invested over $1,000,000 into assisting 168 low-income households recover from the June flood by making energy-efficient repairs to homes damaged.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file